Raider Nation Newsletter

Week of January 30, 2023

Dear Atholton families,

I am thrilled to be back in the United States after my trip to help build a school in a rural village in Guatemala. I return ever grateful for everything and a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration. I will share some of the pictures with you once I am able to organize them all (LOL!). I look forward to the opportunity to speak with you all regarding this experience.

On a very serious note, my return was marked by the disturbing news of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, Tennessee. For those of you unfamiliar with the event, HCPSS Superintendent, Dr. Martirano and Board of Education Chair, Antonia Watts, released the following message:

We would like to take a moment to address the events in Memphis, Tennessee that led to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died three days after an encounter with five police officers. We felt moved to send this message because of our unwavering beliefs of extending humanity towards others in all situations. It is our expectation and hope that our staff and students treat each other with respect, dignity, and compassion in all situations and when someone witnesses a departure from humanity, that they stand up or seek help. It is heartbreaking to know his family is suffering and grieving the loss of their loved one.

It is just as important now as ever that we continue to support and love one another rather than hate and attack. We can be angry at the act and the tragic result of the events that occurred in Memphis, and at a time when many of us may feel helpless, we should direct these emotions to show love and compassion to our neighbor.

When these types of events occur, we all react in different ways. Some people may avoid watching the news, and others may find themselves watching the footage repeatedly. This can result in a wide range of emotions, including anger, fear, and sadness. Please remember that repeated exposure to violence, through videos, images or news stories, can be harmful for all of us, but especially for our children.

Supports and Resources

We want students, parents and guardians to know that we have many supports ready and available in every one of our schools and we urge students to access them any time they need them. If a student is feeling any range of emotions because of this event, or for any reason, we urge them to speak to a counselor, teacher, school administrator, or any trusted adult in their building and they will receive the support they need.

Additionally, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) provides the following information for parents and educators to talk with children about violence:

Additional reminders from NASP include:

  • Reassure children that they are safe

  • Make time to talk

  • Keep your explanations developmentally appropriate

  • Review safety procedures

  • Observe children’s emotional state

  • Limit television (and social media) viewing of these events

  • Maintain a normal routine

The HCPSS Mental Health and Wellness webpage provides guidelines, tips and sources of help.

As a school system, we continue to embrace the values of equity, inclusion and diversity. These are more than just words to us. They are actionable objectives that we dedicate resources and professional development to ensure all staff members are continually lifting them up as guiding tenants and integrating them into the work they do to instruct and support every one of our students.

In our schools and offices, we expect all individuals to embrace love even more tightly and make that extra effort to support a neighbor, friend or even a stranger who is in crisis. It continues to be our expectation that in Howard County and across our school system, we will continue to combat hate and violence with love and acceptance.

Teachers have been equipped with resources regarding this situation should students have questions. Additionally, our student services department (counselors and our school psychologist) are available as well. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns you may have.

Warmest regards,

Robert A. Motley


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Coffee and Tea with Mr. Motley – NEW DATE -- February 7 at AHS

Come get to know Mr. Motley and the members of the AHS administrative team! Enjoy a drink, a snack, and some casual conversation. Parent questions or concerns will be addressed, and Mr. Motley will explain how to navigate the AHS administrative system. February 7th @ 7 pm in the Media Center.

Registration is requested but not required.

Mark Your Calendar

February 7 -- PTSA Coffee and Tea with the Principal

February 20 -- School Closed--President's Day